Federal Agency Lowers Forecast for U.S. Coal Consumption in 2016 to Below 700 Million Tons

first_imgFederal Agency Lowers Forecast for U.S. Coal Consumption in 2016 to Below 700 Million Tons FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Everett Wheeler for SNL: Having already predicted natural gas’ topping coal as the nation’s top source of electricity, the U.S. government lowered its 2016 outlook for power-sector coal consumption to below 700 million tons.According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, domestic coal-fired generators burned an average of 948 million tons annually from 1997 through 2015. In its latest “Short-Term Energy Outlook,” the government agency lowered its latest forecast for 2016 by 3% versus the prior outlook to 689 million tons, a 6.8% drop year on year.Power-sector coal consumption accounts for more than 90% of domestic coal consumption, according to the EIA. The government agency blamed falling coal demand on this year’s mild winter, low natural gas prices and coal plant deactivations stemming from a combination of competition with natural gas-fired plants and burdensome environmental regulations.Last month, the government had projected coal would account for roughly 32% of the nation’s electricity needs to natural gas’ 33.3% in 2016, but the latest projections have coal providing roughly 31% to natural gas’ 33.9% in 2016.The shift in coal consumption patterns has the nation’s coal stockpiles rising. “Overall U.S. coal stockpiles are still very ample given the significant decline in coal’s share of overall electricity generation,” the report said.Power-sector stockpiles ended January at 189.1 million tons for a 22.3% increase year over year. Although that stockpile level is up 16.5% versus the five-year average, EIA-estimated days-of-burn are up 18.1% and 47.2%, respectively, over the same period.The EIA projects secondary coal stockpiles will end the year at 181.7 million tons, up 3.4% versus the prior outlook, but down 11.4% versus the prior year.Full story: Power-sector coal consumption called to fall below 700 million tons $last_img read more